Who: We are looking to engage trained chefs and confident home cooks. We are preparing and serving a lot of food so volunteers need to be confident using a knife and preparing food. People doing dishes need to be aware it can be hard work and it also gets quite hot.

When: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Cooks/chefs come anytime between midday and 6pm and leave anytime up until 9pm. Cooks/chefs normally come for prep and service from midday - 8.30pm, but sometimes will just come to prep or serve the food. If you can only make it for part of the day please let us know. Dishwashing volunteers need to arrive by 6pm and stay until 8.45/9pm.

Where: We are located at Te Whau Eatery, 1790 Great North Road. There is plenty of Te Whau parking down the driveway to the side of the building.

What to bring/wear: Yourself, an apron, comfortable closed toe shoes and your knife/knives if cooking.


Te Whau Kitchen Briefing

Please read before you come


Guests can arrive for dinner anytime from 6.30-8pm. We are typically full by 6.45pm

The space seats 75pax and we expect to serve around 150 pax. This normally two full seatings.

The ideal number in the kitchen is 5-6, not including dishwasher(s).

Restaurant Quality

We serve 3 courses of restaurant quality food to Everybody:

We are not trying to make simple food for people without taste, there are lots of places that our customers can go for this food. We have a lot of paying customers that return on the basis that our food is thoughtfully planned, well presented, generous but not large portions, and delicious. We are aiming for hearty, nourishing, accessible food that everyone will enjoy. Obscure flavours and heavy spices tend to be unpopular,  and rather familiar, rich, comforting food is always a hit.

3 course menu

Entrée - soup with bread. This is always vegetarian. E.g cream of pumpkin, leek & potato.

We serve around a 300ml portion so we need around 90L of soup, which is ¾ of the giant pot. It’s a good idea to prep and cook the soup early so there’s time to allow it to cook properly and develop lots of flavour. Soup will take at least 20 minutes to blitz before service. The soup should be bursting with flavour - this means sweating your onions properly, extracting flavour from vegetables and seasoning well.

Main – this always involves meat, very often beef, lamb or pork mince. E.g shepherd's pie, lamb tagine or chicken stir fry. We often serve this with a carbohydrate (rice/pasta/potato) and have a side salad, or some vegetables on the same plate. We always need to provide a vegetarian option as well. We need 5/6 meat mains and 1/6 vegetarian mains. Our manager will let you know how many people we are aiming to feed. i.e 300 pax means 250 meat mains, and 50 vegetarian mains

Dessert – very often involves rescued apples or bananas, but can also be cake, bread and butter pudding, crumble etc. Dairy is generally always available alongside this, e.g ice cream, yoghurt.
Kids - we have a lot of families with children in Avondale. We always make sure that either our main course can be tailored to children, or we offer them cheese toasties or another alternative, like plain pasta. We need around 15 portions of children’s food each night.

We normally provide volunteers to help with prep (peeling/chopping) throughout the day (depending on what’s needed) and one or two experienced cooks. Just ask how many we have to help you to make sure you are comfortable.

We need to plate food quickly as we are pushing out around 600 plates in the first hour. This means dishes with a maximum of two or three elements are essential. You will sometimes be working with volunteers who are not trained chefs so it is important that someone takes the lead and gives clear instructions.

Before service starts, we ask that you show all kitchen staff how each dish will be plated -the mechanics of getting that food onto the plate and what it should look like. This helps keep things consistent and means we are better able to present restaurant quality plates.

It is entirely possible that more complex dishes can be prepared but chefs will need to have a good understanding of how the food will be plated and how many people will be needed to cook and serve each course.

We need all sections to be able to serve food at the same time, so it pays to officially assign two people to each course, but typically, what happens is that we start a few people in the kitchen plating soup in a line (using a jug rather than a ladle), each person touching the plate once (soup, garnish, pass) then it moves to mains, and onto desserts. However at say 6.30pm when almost everyone is focussed on mains you can still get soup and dessert orders.

At least one person in the kitchen needs to know what is in each dish prepared. If you are the leader of the group coming this should be you. There are 10 common food allergens you must know about: sulphites, cereals containing gluten, shellfish, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soybeans, sesame seeds and tree nuts. During service you may be notified of a customer with a certain allergy. You will need to be able to correctly identify the dishes they can and can’t eat.

Service & Presentation

Almost all the food we use is rescued. i.e diverted before it goes to landfill/anaerobic digestion etc. It is generally in very good condition, similar to what you would have if you bought groceries from a supermarket and stored them at home for 4 or 5 days. Sometime things are ruined and need to be composted, other times bad bits can be removed. One of the main aims of Everybody Eats is to help solve the environmental problems associated with throwing away food. We do not want to be part of this problem so ask all chefs to attempt to use as much of the produce as possible.

Rescued Food

We require everyone to sit and enjoy at least one course with us. After that, people are able to take part of their meal away, so we have takeaway containers available. FOH staff will just ask you for what they need during service and you will prepare takeaway portions to order.

The kitchen is a full commercial kitchen with most of the gear you would expect including:

  • Turbofan oven

  • Six burner gas stove with oven underneath

  • 4x 5L deep fryer (nothing larger sorry)

  • Robot Coupe Food Processor

If you are not sure if something is there, please ask. You are also welcome to bring your own equipment.


Have an awesome day! We hope you feel the wonderful energy that a day & night service at Everybody Eats brings, and we are not the only ones that really appreciate your time.